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CLUSTER HEADACHE

AN INDUSTRIAL PLANT EMITS NOXIOUS CHEMICALS, AND CANCER IS RAMPANT NEARBY—AND YET THERE’S NO WAY TO PROVE A CONNECTION

(@LindaMarsa)

AIR OF MYSTERY: The coal-fired Duke Power plant has released more than 800,000 pounds of toxic pollutants into the atmosphere, all while operating under strict federal and state permits.
WILL & DENI MCINTYRE/CORBIS/GETTY

DANIELLE BAILEY-LASH had agonizing headaches. The pain radiated from her neck to the top of her head and after weeks became so excruciating that she finally went to the emergency room. There, a scan revealed a tumor the size of a juice box on the right side of her brain. The then-35-year-old mother of two always prided herself on being healthy—she got plenty of exercise and never smoked or drank, so she was shocked to hear the diagnosis: Stage III astrocytoma, a rare and aggressive form of brain cancer. Doctors told her she had six months to live.

“I was devastated,” says Bailey-Lash, now 41. After surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, Bailey-Lash is now in remission, but the brush with death prompted her to question why she got sick—and why so many others who lived in her sleepy lakeside community in Belews Creek, North Carolina, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, were stricken with cancer too.

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Curing Cancer - Beating the disease sometimes means beating back prejudices.
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